EQUAL OF EUROPE FOR AFRICA PROJECT;Visit Report to European Commission and European Parliament in Brussels between 28 & 29 February 2012.Introduction.The Barka Foundation since its formation in 1989 transformed the fortunes ofmarginalized people, involved in rehabilitation of infrastructure, advancing concept andphilosophy of social enterprise, influencing policy as well as enacting of legislation inPoland.The Barka Foundation under Tomasz Sadowski has seen its programs and influencespread across Europe with current presence in Poland, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Franceand Holland. The Foundation achievements in Social Market Economy and SolidarityEconomy have received wide acclaim conferred recognition internationally with manyawards.The Foundation was a key policy and service provider in the 2005 -2008 of the EuropeanEqual project by the European Commission. The Barka Equal project of €2 mln euroscreated six development partnerships, twenty social enterprises as well as a number ofpermanent development institutions such as Social Integration Centres, SocialCooperatives and Centres for Social Economy. The project was a great success and itsresults have been described in the publication “New Beginning – Social MarketEconomy: 1989 -2010” ( www.barka.org.pl ).The outcome of the Equal initiative is captured in the opening of it’s review as:“EQUAL has been the largest programme to support social innovation in the fields ofsocial inclusion and employment. It allowed accumulating and sharing good practicethroughout its six years of its implementation (2002-2008). Through and investment of€3 bn euros, EQUAL helped to make the ESF a more effective, efficient and relevantinstrument for contributing to the Lisbon reform strategy to create more and better jobs.EQUAL has provided evidence for innovative and adaptable policy strategies and deliverymechanisms that bring greater inclusiveness to Europe’s diverse labour markets. EQUALinnovation and achievements were the result of the work of 3,480 developmentpartnerships with more than 20,000 partners, reaching over 200,000 people in Europe.The lessons from the EQUAL program have been taken up, adapted and used, acrossEurope, by governments at all levels, social partners, non-governmental organisationsand strategic stakeholders and multipliers”.Barka has been involved in the transnational visit program of the ESF on SocialEnterprise where several delegates visited its operations in Poland between 2010 and2011 from Chara Trust based in Merseyside, UK with significant number being of Africanorigin.The enduring interest and enthusiasm generated by the study groups created a bond ofpartnership. The EESC publication REX/302 “Social Economy in Africa” (Brussels 28 June2010) weighed heavily on Tomasz and in visit cohort of September 2011 proposed to thegroup an idea of an Africa-wide “Social Market Economy” initiative based on thecontents of the EESC publication.
An action strategy was developed taking into consideration the EU and otherdevelopment partners in developing broad based vision and plan of action. There wasconcurrence in all the opinions that empowering the marginalized rural communities isamong the avenues of social transformation in Africa.In 9 February 2012 the first intervention at Kyunyu Village, Kathonzweni District ofKenya, similarly field evaluation was carried out in Uganda and agriculture basedinitiative under formulation in Ghana. An ongoing project in Cameroon is similarly inoperation.Objective of VisitTomasz realized the significance of Sec. 1.5 of EESC REX/302 (“Social Economy in Africa”)and drawback of sec. 4.2 and 4.4 but encouraged by 4.4.2 and 4.6.1. Based on hisparticipation as in influencing and delivering the EU Equal program he was convincedthat an “Equal of Europe for Africa” initiative taking the former as template for the latterand provided for by European Commission would achieve similar impact and meet theobjectives or results contained in EESC REX/302.The visit to both European Commission and European Parliament was therefore to seeksupport for the intervention as well as create awareness for its need if current facilitiesin operation do not have the enabling provision for such support.The registration of Barka International Network for Social Economy composed oforganizations in various regions under progress through General Office Advices SPRL,Place de L’Europe 13, 4260 Ciplet, Brussels would mitigate the drawback of sec. 4.13.European Commission; DG for Development and Cooperation - EuropeanAid.Dr. Celestin Murengezi, Programmes Assistant, External Relations for Civil Society &Local Authorities.Elena Asciutti, Civil Society & Local Authorities for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza andPalestinian Authority (known to Tomasz through ceremony of Barka’s reception of SilverRose Award of 2003).Mr. Godwin Bateren presented activities of Chara Trust in Merseyside empowering theBlack, African, Asian and other minority communities. Through ESF funded activitiesconducted Transnational visits with Barka in Poland through which the African initiativeevolved.Under Harambee (UK) CIC and Harambee (Uganda) CIC exploring projects in Uganda andwhile there in past two weeks identified agricultural sites for immediate supportthrough funding raised by Harambee (UK) CIC. A short video featuring the needs andissues was made.Mr. John MacPhie offering consultancy services to Chara Trust clients bringing him incontact with BAME communities as well as Barka in Poland. Teaming up with Godwin inHarambee (UK) CIC and Harambee (Uganda) CIC both return from two weeks in Uganda.
Baiba D. Mjidho presented profile of Kenya Community Association which is linked toChara Trust since its formation. Members visited Barka in Poland through Transnationalvisits under Chara Trust. KCA famine response program launched on 9 Feb. 2012 a SocialIntegration Centre in Kanini Kaseo, Kenya. Video and project file outlining benefits andseeking funding support was presented.Ewa Sadowska presented activities of Barka UK working with migrants experiencingexclusion, homelessness, unemployment and various handicaps. Responsible forservices offered in Germany, Ireland and currently replicating them in Holland. Theseservices have strong support from host governments and local authorities.Tomasz Sadowski, Gave an overview of work and scope of Barka Foundation in Polandand the contribution it has offered over the years in advancing human capital. He washighly involved in formation and delivery of the European EQUAL project. Being an ECproject its success is known to all with the Commission and Parliament.The EESC publication REX/302 “Social Economy in Africa” inspired Tomasz to considersimilar intervention “EQUAL for AFRICA” supported by the Commission, regional andnational government through partnerships with African Union, regional and nationalgovernments through network or partnerships associations, foundations and otherentities.Tomasz emphasized the moral dilemma for all. What is there for Africa?. In empoweringAfrica, Europe is empowering itself there will be less need for support. The initiativeneeds immediate support to launch pilot projects in select regions of Africa.Dr. Celestin Murengezi, gave comprehensive overview of the operations, structure,selections process, funding constraints and possibilities. The details enumerated are onthe website and won’t be delved in detail for brevity.Support is channeled through front line services providers such as civil society, localauthorities, people working on own initiatives, promoters of diversity such justice,equality and poverty alleviation.Community based initiatives; have two main pillars of support (1) Geographicinstruments and (2) Thematic instruments and programmes.(1) Partner Countries: comprise of support for (a) concrete actions in developingcountries in Africa, elsewhere or within EU. (b) Concrete action in any of the 120 singlecountry envelop. (c) Network support comprising partners with community policydesign.(2) Thematic instruments and programmes (a) Democracy and human rights (EIDHR) (b)Nuclear safety cooperation (NSCI) (C) Environment and sustainable management ofnatural resources including energy (DCI) (d) Non state actors and local authorities indevelopment (DCI) (e) Food security (DCI) (f) Migration and asylum (DCI) (h) Investing inpeople (DCI) (g) Structuring sugar production – no funds available (DCI) (i) EU foodfacility and (j) Instrument for stability.Millennium development goals (MDG); Awareness of development actions that areconcrete and quantifiable. The only one exclusively managed in Europe
Structural dialogue; mainly in Europe challenging established current established policy.Main beneficiary is Concorde combining mostly civil society within Europe with over1,000 members.Disbursement of funds/support; Due to the multiplicity of actors and genuine needsfunding is through call for proposals which is done once per year. 2012 calls closed inearly February 2012 and 2013 call will be at year end. Within Europe, Concorde hasmonopoly with direct grant allocation.Local Authorities; Have political value and thus empowered. There are 40 beneficiarycountries outside Europe.African/European partnerships support; is enduring and value addingAfrican networks; could be more empowering.REVES offers services in Europe. Platforma operates outside Europe.Immediate Support; Dr.Murengezi could not identify any avenue of immediate supportfor the “African Initiative” – EQUAL FOR AFRICA as all calls have been closed. Therecould be opportunities in individual Country Delegation. Kenya is served by Delegationof the European Union to Kenya with Lodewijk Briet – Head of Delegation and MarjaanaSall as Deputy.Dr. Filip Kaczmarek, MEPDr.Filip Kaczmarek has been keen supporter of the initiative since from its inception inSeptember 2011 when the Transnational exchange group to Barka Poland, called in hisoffice in Poznan while on official duty to Nairobi. He is highly acquainted with patheticsituation if Africa and the need for intervention as proposed.Dr. Kaczmarek was delighted by the extensive progress made through reports onUganda, Kenya, Cameroon and potential in Ghana. He was presented with report andvideo of Kanini Kaseo pilot project in Kenya. Tomasz briefed him similar to presentationof Dr. Murengezi.While he concurred with advice to explore funding by delegation in Nairobi he hadreservation on the outcome. He pledged support.Reves Network.Tomasz and Ewa attended the Reves Network Board meeting accompanied by Baibawhere Barka’s application for membership was considered. All delegates present votedfor admission and Barka participate in the proceedings that followed. This way Barkabecame officially a member of the Reves Network.During Dinner that attended by the Barka Team, Mr. Luigi Martignetti, secretary General– Reves, Mr. Jan Olsson -Chairman – Reves and Mr. Jens Nilsson, MEP and South AfricaEP delegation member. There was overwhelming support and agreement on the need ofthe EQUAL FOR AFRICA project. Tomasz suggestion that Reves accept Africa memberswas accepted. The Africa team was thus challenged to scout for suitable candidates.
Mr. Jan Olsson secured an appointment with Mr. Luca Jahier autor report at 12:00noon on learning of his connection with the EQUAL FOR AFRICA proposal.General Office Advices SPRL.Tomasz, Ewa accompanied by Baiba consulted Mr. G. Gerrd, Mrs. C. Peeters and Ms I.Gerard of General Office Advices SPRL in respect to registering Barka Network for SocialEconomy to be based in Brussels that would coordinate Barka’s affairs within andoutside of Europe. It would create capacity to supervise and manage Africa.Mr. Gerard recommended the network be an Association rather than Foundation, whichwould suit the intended network of member organizations (members can be civil societyorganizations as well as local authorities). Draft governing document would be deliveredin one week and the full registration process be completed with two weeks.The Kenya Community Association and Harembee UK & Harambee UK were offeredopportunity of being among the registered founding members.Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Immediate Past President-President EuropeanParliament.Prof.Buzek gave the delegation warm and friendly reception. He was interested andcaptivated by motivating factors of the idea, steps taken, immediate plans and futureoutlook.Both Godwin and Baiba presented profile of Uganda and Kenya. Baiba also presentedPro. Buzek file and video on the Social Integration Centre project in Kanini Kaseo, Kenya.Tomasz provided Prof. Jerzy Buzek with a review of Barka operations in Poland, UK,Germany, Ireland, France and Holland. Tomasz explained the vision and content of theEQUAL FOR AFRICA project in details with its origin being EESC REX/302 (“SocialEconomy in Africa”) - whose Rapporteur Mr. Luca Jahier we were meeting soon after themeeting with Prof. Buzek.While the project would significantly alter the fate of Africa transforming it intocontinent of abundance it would likewise reduce its burden to Europe and become apartner in provision of aid. Underscored also was the reality that no clear provisionexisted within the intervention mechanism of the Commission and Parliament thatwould financially facilitate this innovative, ground breaking and empowering initiative.The support and goodwill of Prof. Buzek would be pivotal.Tomasz further explained admission of Barka Foundation to REVES as well as formationof Barka International Network for Social Economy under registration whose operationswould be based in Brussels. Tomasz also spoke about the innovative Social EconomyCentre of Wielkopolska Region, a new public liability company under creation in public-private partnership between the Wielkopolska regional authorities, Poznan city counciland two civil society organizations. The Centre will manage social economy projectswithin the cohesion policy.
Prof. Buzek acknowledged and was equally pleased with the exciting outcomes and lifechanging activities of Barka and its networks within Europe whose success was highlycommendable.There was no doubt the African intervention would yield the same success was inEurope and therefore was willing and available to assist in any way possible. Herequested Tomasz to keep him updated and provide any information that wouldfacilitate his assistance to the initiative.Video and booklet on the Kenya Social Integration Centre was handed to Prof. Buzek.The further materials on UGANDA projects and the GHANA initiative were promised tobe provided at the earliest convenience. These projects form the beginning of theintervention “Equal of Europe for Arica”.Mr. Luca Jahier, EESC Vice President Group III and Rapporteuer REX/302“Social Economy in Africa”.Mr. Luca Jahier hosted the delegates to unscheduled meeting to discuss the EQUAL FORAFRICA project based on the EESC opinion: Social Economy in Africa: “What role andperspective for Africa’s social economy in development cooperation?”. While Mr.Jahierwas pressed for time, quality discussion and exchange was made. Mr. GerhardBraeunling, EU Policy Coordinator –Youth Employment, Entrepreneurship and Micro-Finance joined the discussion.After introducing the delegates, Tomasz expressed his thanks for scheduling meeting atextremely short notice. The group was honored by meeting the person, who authoredthe opinion on whose basis the whole project was based. He further made shortoverview of the Barka operations in Poland and other countries of Europe.Of critical importance to meeting, which forms the essence of the visit to both EuropeanCommission and European Parliament, was seeking support for Africa similar to theprovision of European EQUAL of 2002 – 2008 in which Tomasz and Barka Foundationwere intensely involved.Tomasz explained the formation of Barka International Network for Social Economyunder registration which would coordinate among others the African initiative whoseoffice would be based in Brussels.Mr. Jahier was highly touched by these developments and by the response to hisopinion and the fact that opinion elicited action from among other Barka and itsassociates with action already ongoing. It was however Jahier’s view that currently hewas not aware of any platform of the EU from which such support would be given.Mr.Braeunling expressed optimism that based on his personal experience and success ofthe European EQUAL project, Africa would equally benefit from similar intervention andsupport in lobbying for resources commended.Mr.Luca Jahier pledged his support.
Short term actions: 1. Basia and Tomasz to prioritize fact finding tour to Africa that would enable them create an effective organ for the initiative with clarity of vision and understanding of the African view. Basia and Tomasz (and possibly Ewa) will make such a visit in May 2012. This visit does not replace the earlier planned visit of study group to 5 African countries. 2. KCA within its meager resources consider making a donation towards expenses of scheduled Basia and Tomasz trip to Africa. 3. Registration of the Barka Network International for Social Economy being handled by General Office Advices SPRL be prioritized. Baiba to assist Ewa where such assistance is called for. Kenya Community Association and Harambee UK & Harambee Uganda have been invited to be founding members of the Network. They have in principle accepted the invitation. Formal KCA and Harambee Uganda & Harambee UK Board resolutions to be sent to Barka for record purposes. 4. REVES would be willing to accept cities, counties or regions that meet its criteria for membership. The African networks associated with Barka to facilitate same. 5. Efforts be made to secure additional £3,000 for completing land preparations by the Kaseo Kanini Social integration Centre in Kenya and additional activities of the projects such as the feasibility study of Makueni Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture (MaSIA) Project. 6. KCA Kenya based Trustees to follow up invitation extended to the Israel Embassy in Nairobi. Press release of visit to Brussels by Wielkopolska Regional office be brought to the attention of HE Gil Gaskel. 7. KCA ensure that press release is featured in the Kenyan press with assistance of the DC Makueni and also post it on its website. 8. Exciting news of Kenya launch and Brussels encounter brought to attention of Mr. Ken Perry of Plus Dane Group for information and attention that would incite further possible support. 9. A broad based consortium of African Association in Merseyside have declared willingness to join and support the initiative as well as to create broad based foundation and support of Africans here in Europe and within Africa. 10. Tomasz and Barka Network use its wide contact base to drum up support and public awareness to the intervention. The intent and scope of the project be provided to international organizations and foundations whose contributions and support can sustain operations. The priority is to continue lobbing European Commission and Parliament as main actors. 11. Close scrutiny of both European Commission and Parliament operates, committees, delegations and decisions of funding (eg. Projects like the one of Concordie).Long term Actions
1. Urgent building and strengthening of Barka Brussels office to be the hub and centre operations in the various regions of Barka’s presence.2. Start to define content, scope and nature of intervention.3. Define structure, linkage, interrelationships between Network for Africa, African representative institutions in Europe and country operations in Africa.